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How Northwest Arkansas students spend AMI days during icy weather

Educators have become flexible and students are continuing to learn through AMI (Alternative Method of Instruction) days.

SPRINGDALE, Ark. — Through this week of winter weather in Arkansas, many area schools have closed and taken what's called "AMI days." But what exactly are those?

JB Hunt Elementary School in Springdale is usually busy with students, but on snow days like today, it's empty. However, educators have become flexible and students are continuing to learn through AMI (Alternative Method of Instruction) days.

"We have created a situation where there's some flexibility, so they can be successful no matter what environment they're in," said Leah Padilla, the principal of Janie Darr Elementary in Rogers.

She says while their focus is literacy and math, they're sending home flexible lessons to students on snow days.

"It's not just sitting on pencil and paper or on a computer, we try to make it situations where they're having to apply those essential standards in real life."

While some are observing the state of matter outside, other students are taking advantage of the weather in other ways.

Lauren Crespin is both a Springdale teacher and parent, but still decided to take a sledding break at JB Hunt Park with her two children. "Just remember to take breaks in your day," Crespin said. "Take it easy. We're not expecting you to come out with like a master thesis after AMI."

She says her circumstances as a teacher and having her husband home have helped, but that she feels for other parents.

"They're not getting paid on top of like having to stay home and be teachers. So, I really do feel for those people, especially during these times, you know, when we have to miss like, three and four days in a row."

That's part of why Fayetteville's Assistant Superintendent Joy Shirley says they send packets home. "We know that we have to meet families and students where they are," Shirley said.

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But ultimately, these AMI days are to help continue a child's learning and hopefully keep their summer plans intact.

"If we missed anything, we do have to make that up. And we have to think about what is the actual time for quality instruction," Shirley said.

While many at home are enjoying their snow days, both educators and parents agree they're excited to see students back on campus once all of the ice melts.

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